Arthur Edward Barstow

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Arthur Barstow
Nickname(s) "Bustling Bill," "Whiz Bang Sikh"
Born (1888-03-17)17 March 1888
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died 28 January 1942(1942-01-28) (aged 53)
Malaya
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Indian Army
Years of service 1908–1942
Rank Major General
Unit 15th Ludhiana Sikhs
Commands held 9th Indian Division (1940–42)
Waziristan District (1940)
Kohat Brigade (1938–40)
2nd Battalion, 11th Sikh Regiment (1933–35)
Battles/wars First World War
1920 Iraqi revolt
Mahmud Barzanji revolts
North-West Frontier
Second World War
Awards Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire
Military Cross
Mentioned in Despatches (5)

Major General Arthur Edward "Bustling Bill" Barstow, CIE, MC (17 March 1888 – 28 January 1942) was a British Indian Army officer who commanded the 9th Indian Division during the Battle of Malaya. He was killed by the Japanese on active service in 1942 while trying to cross a demolished railway bridge near Layang Layang village.

Early life and family[edit]

Barstow was the son of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Adam Anderson Barstow, an officer in the Seaforth Highlanders, and Jane Cape Barstow. He was born in Edinburgh and educated at Bradfield College, before attending the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He was the brother of Brigadier John Anderson Barstow, who was killed in 1941.

He married Nancy Lewkenor Knight, daughter of Brigadier General Henry Lewkenor Knight and Sybil Madeline, on 27 July 1927 in Alton.

Military career[edit]

On 25 January 1908 he was commissioned into the British Army on the Unattached List, before receiving a commission in the Indian Army on 11 March 1909. Between 1910 and 1919 Barstow served with the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs, including on the Western Front during the First World War. He was awarded the Military Cross, wounded and mentioned in despatches over the course of the conflict. He subsequently served in the 1920 Iraqi revolt and in India, and was Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, 11th Sikh Regiment between 1933 and 1935.

At the start of the Second World War, Barstow was Commander of Waziristan District, and was invested as a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire in recognition of his service. In September 1940 he became Commanding Officer of the 9th Indian Division and served with the division during the early months of the Battle of Malaya. He was killed by the Japanese on 28 January 1942 while trying to cross a demolished railway bridge near Layang Layang village. At the time he was attempting to contact one of his brigades, the 22nd Indian Brigade, which had become cut off from the rest of the retreating British forces. The Japanese recovered his body.

The 22nd Indian Brigade was nearly completely destroyed by the Japanese. The 9th Indian Division, after suffering many more casualties, would later be absorbed by the 11th Indian Division and the 8th Australian Division, both of which would later surrender at Singapore.

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